Posture and Range

Arron "Bad Man" Barringer

I find that all too often, fighters seem to approach fighting from isolated ranges and postures. We know kicking range, punching range and clinching. Much like discovering a new planet orbiting on the fringes of our solar system, let us look at two additional ranges: Outside and Inside.

Outside is the range just beyond kicking range, while Inside is the range between punching and clinching. Sounds simple enough (and I realize that I’m not remotely the first to ever put a name to these ranges) but once we begin to look at ranges combined with our postures I think we will discover some new variations on some old themes.

When we are “outside” the range of attack, we need to attain a posture that allows us to take advantage of the relative safety of our range. We need to flex our shoulders, expand our chest and fill our lungs with oxygen before moving back to re-engage the fight. All too often, fighters linger in an energy draining combat pose having no intention of engaging in the fight. We need to be constantly pushing the action of the fight… or we need to be maneuvering to a more advantageous position within the cage or ring.

There is a small threshold that exists between punching and clinching. When we pass along this threshold we are transitioning “inside” of our opponent’s defenses, or vice versa. Too often, I find that when we traverse this range, we become over anxious for the transition and drop our defenses. This is evidenced by the wrestler who shoots with his arms wide and is caught with knees, punches and throws as well as the boxer who is smothered in the clinch and taken to the ground. We must maintain a guarded posture and be prepared to change our levels. Two great fighters that exhibit amazing performances within the inside range are Randy Couture and his style of “dirty boxing” from within the clinch and Georges St. Pierre who astounds his opponents by flowing smoothly from punches to clinch to takedown.

I began discussing this concept with my teammates. We theorized that one reason for this might be in what we term “isolated” training. For instance, the wrestler who needs stand up, so he trains in Muay Thai for six months straight. On the surface that sounds effective! However, in MMA, I propose that any pure system will have specific handicaps. The only way to avoid these inherent stylistic shortcomings is to train the way you fight. We should be certain to train within the context of “the big picture”.  Seldom is this more apparent than in the way we transition between ranges.

For example, ever see a fighter walk from his corner at the beginning of the fight crouched over, elbows wide and thought “that is a wrestler.”? Observe the kick boxer and his efforts to remain tall to maximize his striking. We see these postures and immediately have a concept of where our opponent falls within the spectrum of fighting discipline.

I suggest being conscious of our ranges, and using them appropriately. For instance, the fighter that leaves his corner relaxed, inhaling oxygen. They circle into their power as they attain a posture for striking. With fluid head movement, footwork and smooth level changes our opponent will easily recognize us for what we are… a Mixed Martial Artists. Which, of course, means we are dangerous everywhere.

Back to the “Diary of a Bad Man” Home

You can also follow Arron on:

…and be sure to check out his clothing company – Mortalis Fight Wear